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BOF Recommendations on Canada’s Black Justice Strategy

As we approach the summer months, reams of data show that we can anticipate an increase in interactions between law enforcement and Black and Racialized communities. We can also anticipate an increase in retail profiling of Black Canadians, and in random stops predicated on racial profiling. We are hopeful that within the backdrop of this phenomenon, we will shortly see the release of Canada’s groundbreaking Black Justice Strategy. This is a generational opportunity by Government to develop a consistent framework to guide policy and practices to help dismantle systemic anti-Black racism in Canada’s Justice System.

Extensive national community consultations took place led by grassroots Canadian community organizations to inform the work of the Steering Committee. Black Opportunity Fund is proud to be a funder of the work of several of these organization. The Steering Committee, led by Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, was tasked with developing the framework for the Black Justice Strategy.

Black Opportunity Fund’s National Justice Working Group consulted with and provided its recommendations to the Department of Justice and the Steering Committee. BOF’s National Justice Working Group, a coalition of grassroots organizations, scholars, Elders, cultural keepers, policy specialists, youth, and members of Black communities across Canada, working in various ways in myriad disciplines, to address systemic and structural inequities in the justice system.

We have seen previous consultations, on addressing the significant disparities in involvement with and outcomes for Black and Indigenous Canadians, which have fallen short, resulting in superficial recommendations focused primarily on symptoms, including recommendations for more policing, and police training. While there is certainly a need for more and better training of law enforcement, the strategy needs to be more about upstream solutions focused on  reparatory and restorative justice for Black Communities. So we are very hopeful to see meaningful actions and strategies in the recommendations, as a result of the extensive listening exercises, and the leadership of the Steering Committee.

BOFs recommendations for Restorative and Reparatory justice for Black people in Canada, were framed around the following key urgent issues: 

A. Black people, especially Black youth, have received harsher penalties for cannabis-related offences; 

B. Culturally safe and responsive rehabilitation support for incarcerated persons, including culturally responsive and robust therapeutic and mental health supports, are few or non-existent; 

C. There is a dearth of community-responsive alternatives to parole and incarceration;  

D. Initiatives to ensure that the administrators of the criminal justice system (ie. prosecutors, parole board members, judges, etc.) better reflect Black communities, are in short supply; 

E. There is no funding to develop and implement aggressive and culturally safe social reintegration programmes for Black Canadians who are released from incarceration;

F. There is a need for coordination with other relevant departments in order to ensure a multi-faceted, comprehensive policy approach toward the development of a Black Justice strategy. 

G. Include mandatory Impact of Race and Culture Assessment Reports as part of pre-sentencing hearings for Black people found guilty of committing crimes; 

H. A Reparatory Justice Plan, with the goal of providing recompense to Black people for harm caused due to well-documented systemic and structural injustices within the criminal justice system. Recompense can be in the form of financial contributions, and therapeutic healing from historical trauma, needs to be incorporated into policy decisions;   

I. There is a lack of data collection standards to guide the gathering of race-based data in federal institutions which would enable effective measurement of outcomes.

Read the recommendations from the Black Opportunity Fund National Justice Working Group, to the Federal Government’s Black Justice Strategy, Click here to read BOF recommendations on Black Justice Strategy

 

TD’s Historic Partnership with Black Opportunity Fund

In 2021 as part of its broader efforts to dismantle barriers to equity, TD made a historic commitment to Black Opportunity Fund (BOF). TD invested $10 million dollars to catalyze BOFs vision of a society where longstanding barriers to opportunity for Black Canadians have been removed.

This commitment by TD is the largest donation by any Canadian corporation to a Black-led community organization.

But it’s not just about the money…

TD entrusted the Black Opportunity Fund with the power to decide how and where those funds would be deployed, to improve socio-economic outcomes for Black communities across Canada.

TD invested in the infrastructure of BOF, including staffing, to ensure it had a solid platform to carry out its mandate.

But there’s more…

TD has provided office space, expertise and seconded staff to Black Opportunity Fund.

And it’s a two way street. TD has relied on and welcomed the guidance and input of BOF as it continues to strive in its ongoing efforts to embed equity and to dismantle systemic racism through its own banking practices and throughout its organization. TD staff who take on secondment assignments with BOF, return to the organization with important new knowledge and perspectives which benefit TD as a whole.

Through the partnership with TD, BOF has achieved significant impact in improving socio-economic outcomes for Black Canadians, including…

Launching an inclusive micro-lending program for Black businesses who have been declined lending by Canadian banks.

Providing millions of dollars in grants and capacity building support to Black entrepreneurs as well as Black led, Black serving  community organizations.

Hosting important national convenings in key BOF mandate areas including  Health, Education & Youth, Justice, Arts & Culture, and Entrepreneurship.

Acting as a catalyst for important advocacy on issues impacting the health well being and prosperity of Black Canadians.

And so much more.

Thank you TD.

We look forward to continuing to grow and nurture this important and historic partnership.

Free Screening of Black Life: Untold Stories at The Halifax Central Library

A complimentary screening of an episode from CBC’s Black Life: Untold Stories  will be held at Halifax Central Library on Thursday, May 2, 2024 from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The episode is the beginning of an eight-part documentary series that reframes the rich and complex histories of Black experiences in Canada. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion, hosted by CBC’s Information Morning Portia Clark and a reception.

Presented in partnership with the Black Life Impact Foundation, the event will feature the episode, “Claiming Space.” Directed by Frances-Anne Solomon, it is a lyrical journey through the growth of Black communities, such as Africville, the government policies that destroyed these once thriving settlements, and the residents’ resistance to systemic displacement.

The event is free, but registration is required. To attend the event, please register here.

Please click here to learn more and read the article CBC’s Black Life: Untold Stories free screening at Halifax Central Library

Black Life: Untold Stories is now streaming on CBC’s free streaming app, CBC Gem.

Black Opportunity Fund is the national community engagement partner for this initiative.

BOF & BCFC Grant and B3 Capacity Building Program

Black Opportunity Fund (BOF) is pleased to be launching a grant and capacity building program for Canadian Black-led, Black-serving, and Black focused not-for-profits, and charities (B3s), in partnership with the Black Canadian Fundraisers Collective (BCFC) which will open for applications on March 25, 2024.

This program is made possible through generous funding support from the TD Ready Commitment and the RBC Foundation.

To provide support to potential applicants and answer questions about the program, BOF and BCFC are hosting an information webinar on March 20, 2024 from 6:30 – 7:30 PM EST.

About the BOF/BCFC B3 Capacity Development Program

The BOF/BCFC B3 Capacity Building Program is an 8-month program funded by Black Opportunity Fund (BOF) and delivered by Black Canadian Fundraisers Collective (BCFC), designed to provide Black-focused, Black-led, Black-serving nonprofits and charities, with funding and capacity development support that positions them to collaborate, lead and deliver community-determined solutions that effectively address identified community priorities and needs.

This pilot initiative is made possible through funding commitments from the TD Ready Commitment and the RBC Foundation. Black Opportunity Fund (BOF) is pleased to be partnering with BCFC and delivery partners Imagine Canada, Management Advisory Services (MAS) and the International Coaching Federation, Vancouver Chapter.

This BOF/BCFC grant and Capacity Building Program is national in scope, involving the selection of twenty-five B3 organizations from across Canada, delivering initiatives in one or more of BOF priority areas, however, program funding has been secured from philanthropic organizations – United Way Halifax, and The Toronto Foundation, to prioritize the participation of fifteen B3 organizations selected specifically from three communities (Halifax Regional Municipality and East Hants; the Greater Toronto Area; and Windsor-Essex County) in the pilot.

All organizations selected will receive $20,000 in funding to allocate according to their charitable purposes, operational and program needs. In addition to this funding, organizations selected to participate in the pilot will receive coaching support from certified professional Black coaches and access to mandatory training in key areas of nonprofit management. All applicants will have access to specifically curated online resources covering relevant topics critical in building and maintaining healthy, adaptable, and community-responsive organizations.

We require a commitment from applying organizations, that individual leaders selected from the organization to participate in the program, will be allowed the required time to invest and participate in all aspects of the program fully and will include at least one key leader/ decision-maker.

The B3 Organizations must commit to approximately 4.5 hours weekly and a total of 35 hours monthly to complete the mandatory elements of the capacity-building program. The overall program consists of 75 hours of content.

WEBINAR DETAILS

To provide support to potential applicants and answer questions about the program, BOF and BCFC are hosting an information webinar on March 20, 2024 from 6:30 – 7:30 PM EST.

During the 1-hour webinar, members of the BOF and BCFC Program teams will review the program, including eligibility and adjudication criteria, and hold an open Q&A for prospective applicants to address questions.

Applications open on March 25, 2024, and will close on April 24, 2024 at 11:59 PM EST.

About BOF & BCFC

Black Opportunity Fund (BOF) is a community-led registered Canadian Charitable organization that supports a prosperous, healthy, and thriving Black Canada by challenging anti-Black racism in two ways by:

  1. Responding to long-standing underinvestment in Black communities
  2. Working nationally to strengthen collective actions by Black organizations and leaders, helping them to create new and more impactful ways to support and advocate for our community.

BOF prioritizes initiatives around education, youth, health, women and gender, criminal justice, entrepreneurship, arts and culture, housing and shelter, and food insecurity, that impact the quality of life in Black communities across Canada.

The Black Canadian Fundraisers’ Collective (BCFC) is a group of Black identifying people, rooted in the historic African tradition of Ubuntu, “I am because you are. We exist to inspire and elevate our fundraising sector as the leading advocate and thought collective for Black Canadian philanthropy.

Anchored by its purpose and guided by its belonging and freedom values, BCFC’s Black Philanthropy Fund (BPF), in partnership with Carleton University, offers the Award for Black Emerging Fundraising Professionals enrolled in the Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership (MPNL). The award promotes Black leadership within the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors by making education more accessible through this meaningful and impactful financial support.

Secure your seat register by clicking here

Please note this is a secure call, only those who have registered and received the link will be permitted onto the call.

BOF & BCFC Grant and B3 Capacity Building Program

The Black Opportunity Fund (BOF) and Black Canadian Fundraisers Collective (BCFC) are seeking volunteer Adjudicators to review and adjudicate applications for their upcoming granting and capacity building program for Black-led, Black-serving, Black-focused nonprofits, and charities (B3s). 

Black Opportunity Fund (BOF) will be launching a grant and capacity building program for Canadian Black-led, Black-serving, and Black-focused not-for-profits and charities, in partnership with the Black Canadian Fundraisers Collective (BCFC) on March 25, 2024. 

This program is made possible through generous funding support from the TD Ready Commitment and the RBC Foundation. 

The upcoming BOF & BCFC grant and capacity building program will be available to B3s serving nonprofit organizations and charities delivering initiatives in any of BOF priority areas of: education, youth, health, women and gender, criminal justice, entrepreneurship, arts and culture, housing and shelter, and food insecurity. 

 

About the BOF/BCFC B3 Capacity Development Program

The BOF/BCFC B3 Capacity Building Program, is an 8-month program funded by Black Opportunity Fund (BOF) and delivered by Black Canadian Fundraisers Collective (BCFC), designed to provide Black-focused, Black-led, Black-serving not-for-profits, with flexible funding and capacity development support that positions them to collaborate, lead and deliver community-determined solutions that effectively address identified community priorities and needs. 

This pilot initiative is made possible through funding commitments from the TD Ready Commitment and the RBC Foundation. Black Opportunity Fund (BOF) is pleased to be partnering with BCFC and delivery partners Imagine Canada, Management Advisory Services (MAS) and the International Coaching Federation, Vancouver Chapter. 

This BOF/BCFC grant and Capacity Building Program is national in scope, involving the selection of twenty-five B3 organizations from across Canada, delivering initiatives in one or more of BOF priority areas, however, program funding has been secured from philanthropic organizations – United Way Halifax, and The Toronto Foundation, to prioritize the participation of fifteen B3 organizations selected specifically from three communities (Halifax Regional Municipality and East Hants; the Greater Toronto Area; and Windsor- Essex County) in the pilot.

All organizations selected will receive $20,000 in funding to allocate according to their charitable purposes, operational and program needs. In addition to this funding, organizations selected to participate in the pilot will receive coaching support from certified professional Black coaches and access to mandatory training in key areas of non-profit management. All applicants will have access to specifically curated online resources covering relevant topics critical in building and maintaining healthy, adaptable, and community-responsive organizations.

We require a commitment from applying organizations, that individual leaders selected from the organization to participate in the program, will be allowed the required time to invest and participate in all aspects of the program fully and will include at least one key leader/ decision-maker.

The B3 Organizations must commit to approximately 4.5 hours weekly and a total of 35 hours monthly to complete the mandatory elements of the capacity-building program. The overall program consists of 75 hours of content.

ADJUDICATOR APPLICATION DETAILS

Persons interested in being considered as adjudicators can self-nominate or nominate someone else if the person being nominated has given permission in advance. The overall responsibility of the Adjudication Committee is to:

  1. Review all grant applications presented for consideration in the grant.
  2. Rank all grant applications based on objective criteria and an assessment process established by BOF.
  3. Make recommendations for funding and capacity building 

 As this is a national granting program, BOF encourages applications from individuals from all regions of Canada.

Successful candidates will have a clear understanding of, and alignment with, BOF’s mandate, vision, and mission. 

  • An understanding of anti-Black racism and systemic racism and their effects on Canada’s Black communities.
  • The ability to apply BOF criteria and make recommendations in a fair and unbiased manner.
  • An understanding of the barriers facing Black-led, Black community serving nonprofits and charities due to systemic racism.
  • Bilingualism will be considered an asset.
  • Previous experience reviewing or adjudicating grant applications, or experience working for a Black community-focused nonprofits or charities will be considered an asset.

Black Opportunity Fund is committed to being inclusive of the full spectrum of the Black Canadian experience, so we particularly encourage applications from individuals representing diverse identities such as gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, age, immigration status, language, and national geographical location.

Adjudication Committee Members will be required to participate in a virtual orientation session in March as well as sign a confidentiality agreement.

The deadline to submit the application is Sunday March 31st, 2024.

Successful applicants should expect to volunteer up to thirty (30) hours before May 31, 2024.